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United States Seat Belt Laws

Update:19-12-2016
Summary:

Most seat belt legislation in the United States is left […]

Most seat belt legislation in the United States is left to the states. Automotive V Belts laws are divided into two categories: primary and secondary.

Seat belt laws are divided into two categories: primary and secondary. Primary seat belt laws allow law enforcement officers to ticket a driver or passenger for not wearing a seat belt, without any other traffic offense taking place. Secondary seat belt laws state that law enforcement officers may issue a ticket for not wearing a seat belt only when there is another citable traffic infraction.

34 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have primary seat belt laws for front seat occupants.

15 states have secondary laws. In many of these states, the law is primary for younger drivers and/or passengers.

New Hampshire has enacted neither a primary nor a secondary seat belt law for adults, although the state does have a primary child passenger safety law that covers all drivers and passengers under 18.

Rear Seats: 28 states, D.C., Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, have laws requiring belt use for all rear seat passengers. In 17 of these states, D.C., Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, the law is primary.

Specific laws vary greatly from state to state, depending on the age of the rider and in what seat he or she is sitting. This page covers seat belt laws for adults and young adults only. For requirements for infants, toddlers, and children.

Ideally, all infants and children in all vehicles should be covered by enforceable safety belt laws or child restraint laws or both. But differences in the way the laws in various states are worded result in many occupants, especially children, being covered by neither law. Lawmakers have eliminated most of these gaps by amending their child restraint and safety belt laws. Still,

*15-year-olds riding in the rear seat in Arkansas, Alabama and Ohio,

*Children of age 7 and older riding in the rear seat in Mississippi, &

*Children of age 13 through 15 riding in the rear seat in Oklahoma are covered by neither law.

Where else all children younger than 16 years in all other 45 states and the District of Columbia are covered by one law or both laws.